E3: Sonic Colors Preview

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Neither Sonic Team nor Sega have been good friends with the Sonic loving side of the gaming community these past ten years. Countless times Sega has ignored what the fans have been asking for, and because of this, we’ve seen Sonic sales continue to dwindle with each and every release. Sales have become so infinitesimal that they are now almost direct-to-bargain-bin discount games.

Well, that might be about to change.

The recently announced Sonic Colors was shown off on stage floor, and described in detail behind closed doors by some of the game’s high ranking Japanese developers. Interesting fact: the game isn’t going to be produced entirely in Japan. In fact, much of the story (which is said to take place directly after the events of Sonic Unleashed) in Colors will be produced in North America. The reasoning? Officially, Sega believed an American take on the blue rodent might appeal to a broader audience.

Speaking of story, Eggman has kidnapped a bunch of alien worlds and chained them together in space with the aspirations of creating a theme park. Uh, the largest theme park. This is clearly a story much more acceptable to Western audiences.

Much like the episodic Sonic The Hedgehog 4 set to hit consoles later this year, Sonic Colors is heading back to the series’ traditional 2D platforming roots. No longer is it an action game on rails, but it is taking what made the blue speedball so popular in the early 90’s and refurbishing him with updated visuals and gameplay mechanics.

Aside from your left to right scrolling, a la traditional Sonic games, the user can now make their hedgehog perform a number of special moves, based upon the power up they receive from the alien “Whisp” inhabiting that area. For instance, the two Whisps on display at E3 were Teal or Yellow. Sonic can, with the Teal colour, project himself like a laser and either burn through enemies at a tremendous speed, collecting points and demolishing them all in a single dash attack, or navigate to a higher level of playing. With the yellow Whisp, Sonic can dig through the dirt with his spinball technique and reach areas previously inaccessible to a regular humanoid.

That being said, a player may ignore these powers if they choose to. It was bragged by developers that the levels would be designed well enough that there were multiple paths through each level designed for every type of player. Personally, I played it with tons of Whisp power ups.

Another thing worth mentioning is that Sonic no longer handles out of control. There were elements of previous games that were hard to deal with because Sonic might accelerate too speedily. That isn’t the case here. If you let your thumb lift off of the Nunchuck remote, Sonic will almost instantly grind to a halt. This is possibly the single biggest improvement to gameplay that should have been there all along. Sonic now has control.

While the Nintendo Wii edition is being touted as the triple ‘A’ release of the game, there will also be a DS version utilizing mechanics from the Wii iteration, namely the Whisps, as well as elements from previous DS Sonic games. Specifically, dual-screened levels, which are difficult to master your first run through.

While no specific street date has been leaked as of the time of this article, Sonic Colors for both the Wii and the DS is expected to have a late 2010 release date. The demo shown off at E3 was quite sound and if Critical Gamer had a “Surprise of the Show” award, I’m sure this would be a top contender.

Sonic Colors for the Wii will not utilize Wii Motion Plus, but quite frankly it has no reason to do so at all.

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Written by Adam R.

This author procured a media pass for E3 under false pretences, and no longer writes for Critical Gamer.

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